The recluse at the centre of growing storm over rat infestation in March

A RIVERSIDE property being blamed for a rat infestation in March is the home of a reclusive woman who refuses to allow visitors to enter, according to a neighbour in West End.

Leslie-Ann Franklin claims the partially boarded up property at 11b West End is not empty, as many people previously believed, but is occupied by a woman in her 50s, named locally as Alison Hains.

“We believe the property is partially to blame for the rat problems in West End, because of the occupant’s lifestyle,” said Leslie-Ann. “She is a bit of a recluse and a hermit, she refuses to let anyone in, and does not answer the door. She has lived there for more than 25 years.”

Last week The Cambs Times reported that residents of West End had submitted a petition to Fenland District Council, calling for renewed action at the property, where a previous rat infestation was cleared last summer. The petition claims that rats returned in November.

The council has since written to residents, saying they want to undertake baiting in surrounding gardens, “this will allow the council to substantiate if a possible source of the rat infestation is 11B West End.”

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Miss Franklin said this week: “We want the council to stop messing about, and insist on getting entry to the house, or the property company that owns the house should be given access.

“The residents are going to get together to write a letter, requesting an urgent meeting with councillors, officers and our MP, to thrash this out once and for all.

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“It is a case of here we go again,” she said. “Last year the council did substantiate the problem. But the council is now avoiding the issue by saying it is a possible source of the infestation.”

A council spokesman said this week: “Rats are seen regularly in this riverside area; their activity is not limited to just one property. To identify the source of any particular infestation we are asking for permission to enter all the properties that are affected, We have written to all local residents requesting their cooperation in a coordinated treatment of the problem and we are looking to follow this up in the near future.”

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